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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Toddler Fun, Week 24: Pirate Week! X Marks the Spot, Number 3, and Silver and Gold

Arrrgh, me hearties!
What little kid doesn't find pirate adventures to be tantalizing!?
I know our little boy, for one, is a big fan of pirates!
So, when I was having a hard time thinking of a theme for the letter X, I decided we would do a pirate week, with the emphasis on "X marks the spot"!

Week 24
Letter: X
Number: 3
Color: Silver and Gold
Theme: PIRATES!!!


1. St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum
A few weeks ago I contacted the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum.  I told them that I write a blog, and often feature local family-friendly activities, and asked if they would be willing to give me some free tickets.  To my delight, they wrote back, and said they would be happy to!  I was ticked pink when I received this in the mail:
With ARRR best regards!

So, we planned a super fun day for Aidan and his best little buddy! Technically, it happened at the end of the week, but since it was the highlight, I decided to show it first.  Here are some of the best moments:

 There were pirates everywhere!  It was every little boy's fantasy!  They had staff members working there who were dressed up as pirates, and every time they saw the boys, they gave them some treasure, which was an extra treat!
They had a VERY cool exhibit, where you could shoot off an actual cannon!  They had "match", that you held to the touch hole, and after a while it made a big booming sound.  It was great fun!  The boys were a little startled by the sound, but I figure that comes with the territory... it's a cannon!
 This is AMAZING!  This is an actual, original Jolly Roger.  The boys gave us their best "argh" faces!

 Here's one of the terrific tour guides/pirates.  They stayed wonderfully in character, and dueled the boys whenever they saw them.  Oh, and did I mention, that they gave them treasure each time?  The best!  Honestly, the staff were what made the experience magical!
 Another one of the coolest exhibits, was a bar of gold you could try to lift.  It was skinner, thinner and heavier than I'd imagined!
 Guys, this is the last pirate treasure chest in the world.  It was beautiful!  It's hard to see in this photo, but those are mermaids carved into the inside of the lid.  I didn't post a picture of it, but they did have a 400 year old chest, that they had strategically sticking out of a display, so visitors can touch it.  Of course, the littles were all over that!  You gotta love a museum you can touch things in!
 They had a room dedicated to Hollywood Pirates, which was also fun!  It was exciting to see genuine/original props from everyone's favorite pirate movies, like Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Goonies, Hook, and a few more.  There was also this great poster explaining some of the myths perpetuated by the book Treasure Island, such as X marks the spot, and burying treasure.  

We loved this pirate (Scott, I think?)!  He was so friendly with the boys, and really helped complete the experience.
 See what I mean?  Awesome!

Here are my tips:  
1. I loved the pirate activity map (that came with admission), but it's definitely for readers.  Our boys loved looking at them, and playing with them, though!
2. I loved how interactive everything was!  Also, the museum was just the right size to hold 2 three-year-olds' attention!
 3. The Black Beard Show was a little scary for our boys, and not quite what I expected.   Oddly though, the hanging, talking Black Beard head, didn't phase them at all, HAHA!!  Keep in mind, it is all pirate-y stuff, so there might be a spook factor.  Our boys honestly loved it all, though!
4. I would spend another day here any day!  This was a wonderful glimpse into the world of pirates, and every little boy's dream.

Thank you so much to the team at the St. Augustine Pirate Museum for the memorable, and magical day!  It will not be soon forgotten!

2. Key West Pirates
 If you've been following my blog, you'll know we were in Key West last week for a church service.  There is a lot of "pirate-y" stuff in Key West, including a cool-looking Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum.  We didn't go in, because I knew we were already going to a pirate museum in St. Augustine.  BUT it did look cool!  We saw these "pirates" around town, which of course we had to get pictures with!
So, we found some doubloons, as "pirate treasure", talked like a pirate and even saw this sailboat (which we decided was a pirate ship) off of Mallory Square that evening!

3.  Dramatic Play
I made Aidan this super cute pirate ship.  If you like it, you can find instructions for it here.  We played outside for HOURS!!  We also love his cute pirate hat and beard from HABA!  People often underestimate the power of play.  Kids figure out so much when they're engaged in dramatic play!  I love listening to his self-talk while he's using his imagination.  He comes up with such elaborate stories, they're the best!

4. Treasure Hunt
 While Aidan was napping, I drew him this pirate treasure map.  I numbered each stop.  1) his bedroom, 2) the dining room table, over which I threw a gray blanket, to make it a cave, 3) the front door, 4) the gate to the back yard - which to a toddler probably looks like mountains, 5) the shed (tiki hut), 6) palm tree, 7) sand box, with X marks the spot.
Then, I found some "treasure" (doubloons, necklaces, rings, glass bottle and a silver spoon), numbers for each station, and a "log" to mark off his treasure. 

And of course marked the sandbox with an "X".

We had a total ball!  Here are some pictures to show you all the fun we had.


5. Fine Motor Practice
 We practiced writing X-s... 
Cutting on the lines... 

Tracing on the lines... (pirate week was perfect for this actually, we talked about how pirates have to stay on the line, too)

And counting!


1. Fresh Coconut Water
While we were in Key West, we picked up some fresh coconuts!  Dan drilled two holes in them, and we drank away!  Aidan liked it, mostly because he said it's what Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates) drinks from!  Oh, coconuts!!

2. Pirate Ship Sandwich
I cut a sandwich into a boat shape, as well as a rectangle for a flag.  Then I used pretzels to make the mast, then a slice of chicken lunch meat for the sail, cheese for the jolly roger, black olive slices for the portholes and clementine segments for the waves.

3. Jolly Roger  Breakfast
I made a slice of French toast, and cut it into the "skull" shape. Then, I cut some yummy strawberries in half, to use for the bandana, bananas for the bones, and chocolate syrup for the face.  The face could've turned out better, but I guess it makes it look more "pirate-y".

4. Treasure Map Tortilla
I just made a simple cheese tortilla, then used black olives for the track, a red pepper for the "X", and a spinach leaf for the tree.  It wasn't really Aidan's favorite, but it looked really cute! :)

5. Pirate Pete and his Parrot
For this lunch, I made a sandwich, then used apple slices for the bandana, olives for the nose, eye and mouth, spinach for the beard and eye patch, kiwi for the parrot, and candy eyes.  Yum!!


1. X is for X marks the spot
For this letter craft, I cut out some green shapes for land, a blue river, a red X, and black rectangles for the trail.  Then, Aidan and I assembled it all, and there it is!

Books and Media

We Read:

1. Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman
This is a fun pirate book, and just cheeky enough for a little boy's imagination to run wild.  It's about a crew of pirates, who (duh) love underpants. They go on a mission to find golden ones, when they realize someone beat them to it...

2. Pirates Don't Change Diapers by Melinda Long
Apparently, we're sticking with boy humor.  This is a sweet story about a young boy and his pirate friends, who end up babysitting his sister.  It's the sequel to How I Became a Pirate, but I couldn't find that one.  This one has lots of fun pirate words! :)

3. Eye Wonder : Pirates by Deborah Lock
This is a good book about the actual history of pirates, some myths about them (like, sadly X marks the spot, and walking the plank), the origin of the Jolly Roger, and some of the most notorious pirates!

A fun, pirate-themed ABC book.  The letters are reinforced a couple places on each page, so that's nice!

5. St. Augustine A to Z by Susan Ship Calfee
This is a little-known book, by a local resident, so I love that!  Since I knew we would be going to the Pirate Museum in St. Augustine, I thought it would be a fun refresher.  D is for doubloon, so that made us very happy! :)

We Watched:

1. Jake and the Neverland Pirates - if you don't know this show, you probably haven't been around little kids lately.  In case you aren't familiar, it takes place in the world of Peter Pan, but it's not about him.  Jake, and his buddies the to stop Captain Hook from doing bad things, and spoiling their fun.  It used to be on Netflix, but sadly isn't anymore.  You can find a couple episodes on Disney Jr.

2. The Pirate Fairy - This full-length movie is part of the Tinkerbell franchise.  It's okay, and had pirates, and attempts to shed light on James Hook's early years some, so that's pretty cool.

3. The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - this is the Silly Song with Larry, not the full-length feature.  I didn't really care for the latter, but the original song is HILARIOUS!  We've been singing it all week.

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